Impressions From a Speaking Tour in China

Intense 3 weeks. 10 cities. 200+ participants per city. 100% Chinese audiences from sales and BD backgrounds. Mostly manufacturing and trading sectors.

I’ve been doing this China tours for years, partnering with all types of partners. And every year I hear that “the economy is bad these days.” But surprisingly (or not), every year ends up being a very good one, for everyone.

I guess the good thing about training/consulting is that, like lawyers, we do well when the economy is bad. And we do well when the economy is good. Here is my personal take on China businesses’ growth in the trade war era

Competing in the trade war era

Chinese audiences I engaged with are extremely hopeful about the future. Their competitive instinct is at the highest I have ever seen, although the trade war is taking its toll on the weakest. I challenged them to view the competition as an enriching factor that will keep them on their toes. Entering a new market in 2019 and seeing no competition is a big red flag. Unless you’re in a repressed market or a high-tech venture, it either means you are doing something illegal, or other competitors came in before you, broke their backs, and left.

Infrastructure and supply-chain

Infrastructure in some far-flung cities in China is remarkable. Way ahead of some European cities I have been to last month. Pre-orders for 5G data plans are in full swing. State of the art railways connect cities through safe and affordable bullet train networks. China’s high speed railway accounts for two-thirds of the world’s total high-speed rail tracks in commercial service. Yes you can go back and read that sentence again. Or better, check out China’s Five-Year plan to wrap your head around the magnitude of what’s taking place here in terms of infrastructure, and beyond

As of mobile payment, don’t get me started. I am yet to find a street-food vendor that does not accommodate Alipay and Wechat Pay. In Xiamen I went to a small random printing shop to print some documents. My phone battery was dead, so I offered to pay in cash, but they said they don’t use cash. So I had to hand them a 100 RMB bill for a 40 RMB job, note down the owner’s Wechat Id, add her later when I charged my phone up, then she would transfer the change (60RMB) to me through Wechat pay.

Bye pollution?

You can see blue skies now, even in manufacturing cities! This was unimaginable just 4-5 years ago, but polluting manufacturers found the hard way that the Chinese government was dead-serious when they talked about “Beautiful China.” In November 2012, President Xi articulated his Chinese Dream for the first time during a visit to the National Museum of China. The Chinese dream means strong, civilized, harmonious and beautiful China. Translation: Fix the economy, curb corruption, no social complains , clean the environment. And I can see this unfold. Soon people in Tianjin might be able to breath fresh air.


A few blurry pictures for the clear memories.